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Volcanic ash closes airport, evacuation of thousands

Quakes also recorded as surrounding areas prepare for the worst

Manila Airport was forced to cancel all flights on Sunday as ash from a nearby volcano fell on the Philippine capital. 


The suspension of flights continued today (Monday) due to ash on the runway, the airport's general manager said. 



One of the Philippines’ most active volcanos, Taal began spewing ash up to 15kms into the sky on Sunday, shaking the area around it and causing awesome volcanic lightning within the spirals of steam and ash. 


According to Reuters, the activity prompted the evacuation of thousands of people on Taal, which is located in a lake around 70 kilometres south of Manila, as well as nearby areas popular with day-trippers from the capital and other holidaymakers. 


With a "hazardous explosive eruption” possible “within hours to days", the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised its alert level to four out of five. 


It also said volcanic tsunami and currents of hot gas and volcanic matter could hit areas around Taal lake. 


The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council told media around 6,000 of 8,000 evacuees were already in a safe zone. 


Visitors to Tagaytay, a popular vacation spot with views from high above Taal, had a clear view of the explosions.


"We were having lunch when we heard rumbling. We saw the volcano erupting. It rained and some small pebbles fell to the ground," a restaurant diner told Reuters. 


"I did not expect to see such spectacle. We just went by to eat."


Taal’s eruption would follow a trend of recent volcanic rumblings around the world including the eruptions of southern Japan’s Mount Shintake on Saturday, and on Thursday, Mexico’s most active volcano, Popocatépetl, which sent lava and clouds of ash about 20,000 feet into the sky, NPR reported. 


In December, New Zealand’s White Island suddenly erupted, killing 18 people.




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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 13 January 2020

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